CNN  — 

Quanishia “Peach” White Berry and her wife, Lexus, say May 28 was as normal as any other day: They scrolled through TikTok videos while waiting for the groceries they had ordered so they could cook dinner.

Then, they noticed the cracks in their home. First, Lexus spotted one separating a window from the wall of the six-floor apartment building. Her wife saw an even larger one in the bathroom.

“I said, ‘Something’s wrong,’” Peach, 24, recalled. “I just felt it in my soul.”

The cracks were growing by the second, and they began to make a frightening noise. The pair quickly grabbed their two cats, holding one each, and reached for the door. Lexus grabbed the handle and prepared to turn it.

Then, the floor gave out and the building came crumbling down on top of them.

Crushed by cement and debris

Three people were killed and dozens of apartment units were destroyed when the Davenport, Iowa, building partially collapsed.

Peach and Lexus recalled the disaster to CNN in an exclusive joint interview at the hospital on Wednesday – the same day they filed a lawsuit against the city and the building’s owner for negligence.

Describing the moments of the collapse, Peach said it all came down on her in the “blink of an eye.” For a moment, everything went dark as she panicked.

“I was so scared,” she said. “I was just like, ‘what just took place?’”

By the time she gathered her thoughts, she found herself crushed under cold, wet debris and cement after falling multiple stories, and trapped by rotting metal pieces, shards and portions of disassembled flooring. Peach yelled for Lexus, hoping her wife was alive and conscious enough to be able to respond, but did not hear anything back.

Lexus, 27, told CNN she didn’t hear her wife’s yelling because she had not fallen as far down. The pair lived on the fourth floor and Lexus said she was able to stay on a sturdy piece of flooring and maneuver through the debris that fell on top of her.

Peach, meanwhile, was focused on surviving: She covered her head and face so no other debris could hurt her and worked to avoid the water that was spewing from a nearby broken pipe so she didn’t drown.

“‘I have to make it, especially for (Lexus),’” she remembers thinking at the time. “’I have to be able to tell this story.’”

A decision of survival

Finally, hours after the fall, first responders reached Peach.

They had to close off electricity and gas to the building to prevent explosions before they could reach her, said Dr. Calvin Atwell, a trauma surgeon at Genesis Medical Center in Davenport, who responded to the scene.